Summary: Nothing exposes the selfishness in our hearts quite like living life with others.
Humility, Pride, and Group Dynamics
1. Human beings have a dignity unlike other created beings.
2. Yet, ironically, snobby members of the intelligencia constantly degrade human dignity:
LONDON (AFP) - London Zoo unveiled a new exhibition -- eight humans prowling around wearing little more than fig leaves to cover their modesty.
The "Human Zoo" is intended to show the basic nature of human beings as they frolick throughout the August bank holiday weekend.
"We have set up this exhibit to highlight the spread of man as a plague species and to communicate the importance of man’s place in the planet’s ecosystem," London Zoo said.
The scantily-clad volunteers will be treated as animals and kept amused at the central London zoo with games and music. (Aug. 25, 2005).
3. On the one hand, society tries to tell us that we are nothing but animals; on the other hand, society applauds arrogance and vanity.
4. But the Christian position contradicts both of these views: We are truly special beings; every human is an amazingly designed creature in the image of God. Yet, at the same time, evey human being is to work in concert with others and under God.
5. But we have a problem: sin. And sin shows itself in different ways in different contexts. Relational or social sin often shows itself as self-centeredness.
Main Idea: Nothing exposes the selfishness in our hearts quite like living life with others.
We can either seek spiritual maturity and check our self-centered ways, we can let our selfishness run rampant and trash our relationships, or we can close ourselves up and try to conceal our condition. What we can’t do is get rid of it.
Humility: don’t leave church without it.
I. We Ought to Have Harmonious Church Relationships Because We Share COMMON Blessings (1-2)
• The word “if” can also be translated, “since.” In this case, there is no doubt.
A. The encouragement that comes from being UNITED with Him (1a)
• Encouragement/exhortation = speech calculated to help us stay the course
• As we walk with Christ, He keeps us going when we want to quit
B. The comfort we find in His LOVE (1b)
• Comfort=kind words to one in sadness
• As we walk with Christ, He holds our hand and helps us in our sadness
C. The fellowship we find with His Spirit (1c)
• either a sharing with others the gift of the Holy Spirit, or brotherliness prompted by the Spirit.
• As we are filled with the Spirit, we have the things of God in common & have fellowship
D. The tenderness and COMPASSION that develop from maturity (1d)
1. Compassion means caring
2. To care for folks, I have to know them
3. To know them, I have to talk and visit with them
Touching in Church
What is all this touching in church? It used to be a person could come to church and sit in the pew and not be bothered by all this friendliness and certainly not by touching. I used to come to church and leave untouched. Now I have to be nervous about what is expected of me. I have to worry about responding to the person sitting next to me. Oh, I wish it could be the way it used to be; I could just ask the person next to me, "How are you?" And the person could answer, "Oh, just fine." And we would both go home . . . strangers who have known each other for 20 years. But now the minister asks us to look at each other. I am worried about that hurt look I saw in that woman’s eyes. Now I am upset because the lady next to me cried and then apologized and said it was because I was so kind and that she needed a friend right now. Now I have to get involved. Now I have to suffer when this community suffers. Now I have to be more than a person coming to observe a service. That man last week told me I had never known how much I had touched his life. All I did was smile and tell him I understood what it was to be lonely. Lord, I am not big enough to touch and be touched. The stretching scares me. What if I disappoint somebody? What if I am too pushy? What if I cling too much? What if somebody ignores me? O Lord, be here beside me. You touch me, Lord, so that I can touch and be touched. So that I can care and be cared for. So that I can share my life with all those others that belong to you. All this touching in church, Lord, it is changing me!